2021 PAEA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Grace Landel, M.Ed., PA-C speaks with our team about Touro University's dual degree program, her path in the PA profession, and about the impact of diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts for her and her students.
The purpose of this podcast is to provide news and information on the PA profession and is for informational purposes only. The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and guests and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policy of the University of Arizona.
Unknown Speaker 0:08
Welcome to this episode of the PA path podcast. I'm your host, Kevin Lohenry. We are glad you could join us as we seek to better understand the PA profession
Unknown Speaker 0:30
we can make a safe place for our students, for all of our students and are all going to grow because of that.
Unknown Speaker 0:37
Well hello and thank you for joining us again. Today we speak with Miss Grace Landel was the 2021 recipient of the PA Lifetime Achievement Award. Grace and I talked about her path to becoming a PA her career in education and about Torah universities dual degree program in Vallejo, California. Grace also shares her passion for diversity, equity and inclusion from her role in PA education. And in her life as a member of the LGBTQ community, which is incredibly timely given this month includes National Coming Out Day, and LGBTQ history month. As always, you can learn more about our guests than about tour University on our website, at the PA path podcast.com under the blog section
Unknown Speaker 1:18
for show notes.
Unknown Speaker 1:22
Well, great, thank you so much
Unknown Speaker 1:23
for joining us today. We're delighted to have you come on and talk about your illustrious career and Toro University's dual degree program. Let's start first with your path to becoming a PA, can you tell us a little bit about how you ended up in this profession?
Unknown Speaker 1:36
Sure. And thank you, Kevin, so much for inviting me to do this. It's really an honor. My path is, I think like many people probably from my era, no, Pa was not the first thing on my list. I actually was pre vet when I was actually when I started college, I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. And I was a biology major, which means I really didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. But I was pre vet for a few years actually volunteered at that hospital. And you know, veterinary medicine is actually really difficult to get into. But I also thought it was because I didn't like talking to people, which I find very hilarious. Now, I think everybody who knows me says the same thing. I volunteer at the Santa Cruz, I was going to University of California Santa Cruz, which many people that time said was a hippie trippy school. But I started volunteering at the Santa Cruz Women's Health collective. So it was women run, providing health care for other women in the community, doing self help groups, things like that. And I worked in the lab goes on the job training. And then I also was unfortunate counselor. So had some background in that. And we had a number of women who were midwives. So it was a big thing about home births at that time. Because I graduate I this was I was in college in the US in the mid 70s. And really a feminist movements, women's health movement to those kinds of things. I had worked there with a PA, which I didn't really think about at the time. But then I went after after college again, still not knowing what I was going to do with that a biology degree and was in Oregon got a job luckily with as a hospital as a phlebotomist. And was doing that, you know, as again as the What am I going to do next with what am I going to do with my life. And several of my friends were going through the same thing. And so they were looking at nursing school and one of them said, Pa and I went out you ever worked with a PA and the local community college had this computer program where you could answer a ton of questions. And including like you like working a date night outside and all those kinds of things. And one of the things that came up on the list again, was PA and I read the blurb and to me in I know this sounds so cliche, but it really was a light bulb went off. My really went wow, this is this is exactly what I what I want to do. My mom really wanted me to go to medical school. I actually took the MCAT you know, I did that route, but it was not my heart wasn't in it. And I heard this like yes, this is it. And so I started applying to PA schools. Actually, I applied to there weren't that many PA schools at the time, you know, like it was around the 50 mark. And I applied to five, had interviews at four and got accepted three. And I ended up going to Baylor College of Medicine and really one of the reasons was because of one of their start time was because I have a lot of money. And I was supporting myself and I could work two more months and I figured, you know, those are my books, you know, and maybe maybe one month of rent. So, so I ended up going to Baylor College of Medicine. So I went from Eugene, Oregon, to Houston, Texas. which was a huge cultural shift we had. When I by the time I left Eugene, we had 50% unemployment rates, and went to Houston, which was booming oil boom was going on at that time and 1000 people month were moving into town. So l started PA school and had, you know, great experience did some of my rotations in some small communities way outside of Houston. But then my partner who had moved to Texas with me, while I went to school, got a job in Nebraska, and left during my clinical year because a lot boy, really, we're not going to see each other clear anyway. So when to went to Nebraska, and then try to find a job. And I ended up in a small town of less than 5000 people outside of Lincoln, Nebraska, called Seward worked, there were three clinics in town. And now actually, there are two clinics in town and one clinic and another town, but we had a hospital. So we consider ourselves a lady semi rural. And I worked there for three years, I was the first female provider they'd had in the community. So I did a lot of women's health, and just really loved and had a great community. Love My patients love the people I worked with. And I mean, if I could have moved them back to the West Coast, I would still be there. That's how I like it. But you know, I'm from the West Coast. And and I was in the middle of the country. I mean, the middle, you know, people go with that river. I go, Yeah, it's not very big in the summertime.
Unknown Speaker 6:33
Yeah, yeah, very different.
Unknown Speaker 6:36
It's very different. But, and I was also there during the farming crisis, when people were losing their family farms. So all kinds of things like that. So but it really gave me a taste of working with people with Whole families. I mean, the kids would stop by the hospital to see grandma on their way home from school, we there were, there were hours, but there were not the restrictions that you see in urban in urban settings. And also the the whole life cycle, you know, people are born and people die. And it's just, you know, it's a part of life. And so I think the grounding that gave me as a, as a family practice, PA, really has stayed with me the rest of my life, you know, my rest of my career, it made made a huge impact on me, and made me actually realize how important my family my own family is to me. So that was great. Then my partner went back to school again. And so we moved back to the west coast and the closest so she was going to grad school in UG back in Eugene. And closest I could find a job was in Vancouver, Washington. So just right over the border from Portland. So I started working with family medicine there. And that was a clinic that was open every day of the year. And so did you know the pews work? So we were open eight, eight, Monday through Friday, nine to four weekends and holidays. And so got, you know, again, continue to get a lot of experience, but it was one of those things like, So, do I do all these things that I was doing before because we know we have people just upstairs from us. You know, if we, if when I was in Nebraska, was in Seward, if we were going to refer somebody it was, it was an hour. So it was an hour, if by lifeflight was an hour, you know somebody that came out from Omaha and pick people up? Or they send the paramedics out from Lincoln, which was an hour or so no, anyway, you looked at it, it was an hour before we've been if we had a sense of a town that people want to drive, like, I want to I don't want to go into the city. Right and so people's also blue systems about mess that wait so I tore this tendon here and the only thing of it doesn't heal, my tip of my finger won't bend or you know, I can't straighten it. Okay,
Unknown Speaker 8:57
your partners are a totally different population. Right? They're, they're incredibly resilient when it comes to those kind of injuries.
Unknown Speaker 9:05
Yeah, yeah. So you know, so I think I got a really good grounding in family medicine which I think I brought to my teaching career
Unknown Speaker 9:15
and grace you are currently at a program that has a dual degree with a public health degree as well. So do you think that the community experiences agenda Nebraska played a big role in your focus on community as part of your health?
Unknown Speaker 9:29
I you know, I think so. But it's just always been a part of of it and maybe it was just from you know, living there working there. Being on call. People just stop being you know, like, I'm out mowing the lawn and stopping by and go just my kid have nits they have headlights? Yes. Okay. You know, talking to you in the grocery. And that could be you know, it's it's really hard sometimes to tease out why. Why we have our belief systems. No, so it's, I think mostly for Our lived experiences. Right?
Unknown Speaker 10:02
Right. And you also had a chance in family practice to really continue that, that starts your career that you did in so many different aspects of women's health, when you're up in Santa Cruz to it sounds like,
Unknown Speaker 10:13
yeah, yeah. Because you know, even when I was when I was in Vancouver, we had three clinics, but for a long time, I was still the only female we had one female provider. One was out in our, in our small clinic in one of the smaller communities, and she was the only provider there, but the quote unquote, in town, again, for a long time was the only female provider and I would bring in, you know, so I said, See, I finally just said, you know, like, one evening a week, I'm just gonna do women's health, because it's just easier. And then, you know, women could come in, it's after work, somebody else's at home with the kids, you know, those kinds of things. People didn't have to take time off work to come in.
Unknown Speaker 10:54
And this would have been the time when the PA workforce was flipped, right, where 70% of the workforce were men 30% were women, whereas now it's the reverse. That's That's exactly right. Yeah. So So you were definitely in demand with that experience and that passion?
Unknown Speaker 11:11
Yeah. Well, it because in the medical profession, too, right? Physicians didn't want to do Women's Health either. Women want to see women.
Unknown Speaker 11:20
Yeah. So you're up in Oregon? And how do you end up at MedX?
Unknown Speaker 11:25
So well, this is kind of follows on the women's health thing is I came up for annual review. And I said that, you know, I bring in the women to the clinic, to our system. And because they come in their husbands come in, because they make them come in, right. And they bring their kids in, and actually they will sometimes bring their grandparent, you know, their their parents, and so I would see multi generational families. So I want to I want to race. And literally, my supervising physicians in the time said, there are disparities, there's discrimination against women, and it's not equal. And we're not going to do anything about it. I said, Okay. Oh, and I also ever since I was in PA school, I thought I wanted to teach sometime down the road, I'd done some teaching before I went to PA school. And it's always said I my best friend in PA school, I'd always tell her, you know, like, when I get burned down on clinical practice, I'm going to teach go, I just want to be in your brain for five minutes. Because somehow when you come up with some of these analogies, like where do you get them from? And literally about, like, a couple weeks, or maybe a week after we I had this meeting, you know about wanting to raise, I saw a job posting at MedX. And my again, my partner, we're still in grad school, I thought, well, here's my chance to try it. I can go up there I can, I can teach for a few years. And then when she gets out of grad school, we can go we can see where we want to go. So then, so I applied, and I got the job. And at that time they were paying more than my clinical practice isn't
Unknown Speaker 13:06
terrible. Yeah. I wonder if that that physician that made that decision, never really thought that through and said, Wow, I really screwed that up?
Unknown Speaker 13:15
Well, when I had my exit interview with our clinic manager and the senior partner, and I told him that there's, you know, this is really basically why they said, if you had come to us, we would have done it. And I said, well, but the but the but the hierarchy and my understanding I was I was talking to him, I was interviewing him. So and he was doing the negotiation didn't even occur to me
Unknown Speaker 13:40
to go above him. Sure. A rule
Unknown Speaker 13:43
follower in general.
Unknown Speaker 13:48
Me too, that keeps us out of trouble. So yeah, so So you're at MedX. And this is we at the Seattle campus at the time or Tacoma.
Unknown Speaker 13:57
There was only at the Seattle campus. Okay. So, so I was there, I started out, you know, as a principal faculty member, and then really kind of worked my way through. It was, we had what we call course coordinators, because we'd bring in outside lectures for a lot of a lot of things. And kind of over my educational career have been in charge of almost all the courses and a PA program. Never did pharmacology and, and then instantly could have worked my way up when things came up. And so we hadn't had an Academic Coordinator programs were small at that time. When I first started, we had I think, 25 to 28 students, so not many, but then things started, you know, we started getting bigger, increasing class sizes. And we also, you know, the program director was pretty innovative, and got a grant and we set up our first satellite in Alaska. Prior to that we'd always had people from the Pacific Northwest, our medical school, University of Washington Medical School. So they were the medical school for Wyoming, Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. And so our PA program actually had a slightly broader reach because there were not PA programs in Nevada, and some other states. So we really had students from from all over. So but they always said they weren't gonna let me go to Alaska because they didn't think I'd come back. But then we had the opportunity to start this program. So I went up to Sitka to be the program director, Howard stricker was one of the faculty with me. That is amazing. Yeah. And we were housemates, I we always still, but yeah, Howard and I live together, right. And then Steve day to work for the proper clinic. They call it Southeast Alaska Health Consortium. So he ordered them. And so because that was our partner, that was one of our partners, and then the University of Alaska was our third partner. So it was a little help outreach grant.
Unknown Speaker 15:59
Because sick is the location of that famous Ryan Reynolds. Sandra Bullock movie, right?
Unknown Speaker 16:04
Unknown Speaker 16:06
Yeah. What a beautiful place.
Unknown Speaker 16:08
Oh, it's very beautiful. And so what's interesting about that, and about Alaska, so if you are going to medivac somebody out of Sitka, it's almost equidistant to come to Seattle, or to go to Anchorage. Wow. So people would decide where they had more family, when if they're, you know, which which direction they would go. It's on an island. It's in southeast Alaska.
Unknown Speaker 16:29
Wow, what an incredible experience that had to be an end. You know, for those that haven't met Howard yet, we'll have Howard on hopefully, in the future, his boy Jackie, will be on in a couple of weeks for Duke, you know, talk about six degrees of separation. There's just so many of those kinds of stories that we've been learning over the last 15 weeks of podcasts of how each individual has impacted the other. And that's just really cool. Howard, of course, was President pa during the pandemic. So what a great experience of you to shared.
Unknown Speaker 16:59
Yeah, you know, so we had to set that up, essentially, from scratch. I mean, we had to do things like figure out, okay, if we're going to do workshops, like, how much how many gloves do we need? How many speculums? How many, I mean, really from scratch. So nowadays, yeah, because with all the programs, startup people are much more used to doing that. But but not then the idea with with a saddle. So we're now distance campuses, but we build satellites at that time where, you know, you go to an area, you would set up shop, you would educate people from that community, so they didn't have to move. And then when there were enough people enough pH an area you can fill up your tent and go home, or in some places, what's happened is the program would become self self sufficient and stay there. But with Alaska, what happened was, we had the second year of the clinical year, the goal was if the state would take it over, and then there would be a PA program up in Alaska. And that didn't happen because of the price of oil had was off. And they were closing things, including talking about getting rid of school nurses and things like that. So they weren't going to pick up a new program. So we finished up came back. And you know, just went up to Alaska to a site visit students and do all those kinds of things. But But that's where that's how we're ended. But because of that, we then also use that knowledge to start a program, the satellite in Yakima, and then a few years later in Spokane, so we had Eastern Western Washington state, and then in the middle, so but that was where the idea were all of those came from so and then became the Academic Coordinator. So part of my job was making sure that classes where there was equivalency, actually, we had course coordinators across, you know, all three sites, one person was in charge, we made sure that everything was saved, but we're down to we had exams at the same time of the same day, you know, all of those kinds of things. So that there's a people couldn't say that they weren't getting the same education. After they couldn't say, but we wanted, we wanted to make sure everybody was getting a great education.
Unknown Speaker 19:12
Sure. In 2010, you became the director of the Troy University dual degree program, right, California. What was the motivation to make that move
Unknown Speaker 19:23
to things so I'd now you know, I had now gone to be an assistant director, Associate Program Director, done all these kinds of things. And it became clear that I was not going to be the program director there. My parents were aging and actually somebody from the torille program that I knew that I had met at Western consortium a number of years previously called me and said, hey, somebody said you might be interested in looking for a job would you be would you be interested in so you know, looked it up on the map, right? We all do. Well, you know, it's only two hours from my parents that would be that would be closer So I actually applied there, and I actually also applied for a startup program on these toast, interviewed balls. And the mission of the turtle program is very similar to the mission of the max program. And several years previously, I had actually been interested in because I've been kind of interested in being a program director, and I'd applied for some program director position some other places, and one of them, I didn't get the job. And I was talking to one of our associate Dean's in the medical school. And he just said, you know, because he had been a commissioned aarC Commissioner, and he'd actually done a site visit there. And he goes, You know, I actually think it's all to the best, because you are really a mission driven person. And I don't think he would have been happy there. And so that was a, you know, sometimes you need that external spotlight to go, oh, yeah, that's true. And so, you know, I looked at the Mission, I'm just going like, this is I want to do this. So, you know, applied, you know, got the job moved down. And there were some things about the program, that I felt like it when I came, you know, I think one of the reasons why we wanted to become program directors is we have a lot of ideas of how things could be. And so again, that was for me, and what I realized what I came was, there were things about the mission that were being said, but not done. Not going no, this is what we're going to do. And so and I think we've got just an incredible faculty, really, who are who who believe in the mission. And really, we work towards that. And I think that shows because last year, we got the PA excellence and diversity congratulation award, because of our work, and our Director of Admissions just says, you know, everybody says these things at this campus, but you guys actually do it. Yeah, I'm very proud of that. I'm, like, I'm so honored to, to work with the people that I work with, and really our students, which
Unknown Speaker 22:02
is incredible. So tell us a little bit more about the program, give us your sales pitch, were an applicant looking at your school? What are the things that we really need about?
Unknown Speaker 22:11
So the first is me, because that's a question because I do information sessions, I do panels, admissions panels, and stuff like that, which I really love doing. Well, the turtle program is the only program in in the country, the Olympia program, where you're going to also earn a master's in public health. And I really see that we are educating clinicians of the future. With a public health background. Two years ago, people didn't know what public health was, since Cowfish, you hear it like, I should have the day, right. And so people now I think, have a much better sense of the need for that. And I always tell our students, I'm so jealous, or good an MPH because, you know, if you're if you've been in medicine long enough, I mean, you just and especially if you're in primary care, you are going to learn public health principles. But to learn it, from the from day one, and the theory behind it, and all those kinds of things. I mean, that is just so incredible. Plus, which we just have an incredible public health program, we have so are because people can go there other PA programs where you can get as a dual degree, you can get an MPH, but our students, every student who comes is going to get an MPH, I always tell people interview days, if you don't want it. And after being here today, or after coming to our information sessions, like don't accept us, because you're gonna get it. Sure, which I think was some of the issues in the early years. But so our students have our our MPH program has three tracks that choose a suit that students choose, essentially, it's a community track, a global track, and health equity and criminal justice track. And if we're not the only public health program that does it, we're one of the few. So really looking at issues around the criminal justice system, health care system, social justice. And so you know, there's the school to prison pipeline, how do we stop that? Restorative justice? There's issues of the people who are in prison, and like the health care there and do the other issues. And then when people get out, how do you keep people from going back, as well as all of the issues of communities that you know are impacted by by huge numbers of the community being in prison? And then we look at you know, the, you know, the all the racial injustice, etc. So, you know, there's all those components and so, so students can choose that as a track. And the difference the main difference between the three tap tracks is just to essentially to track courses, but where students do their public health field study. is also a big, big difference. So just as in for PA school, students do clinical rotations to apply what they've learned in the classroom. Students do the same thing in a public health field study with their public health education. And so students can can be in a variety of places, and really utilize what they've learned the health equity and criminal justice, they're able to work in a variety of areas around that. Also, we do have one of our clinical rotation sites is in the California Correctional Facility. And so students can also do a rotation there.
Unknown Speaker 25:38
So what percent of your students typically choose those tracks if you had to kind of average them out?
Unknown Speaker 25:43
So it used to be about when we because the health equity and criminal justice track is only a few years old? So prior to that, it used to be about two thirds community 1/3 Global, and now it's, it's about, I don't know how to divide it up a smaller number in the health equity keynote pro justice track, although I think we may have 10 or 15 students this year, and the rest are now and the rest are evenly divided among the other two tracks.
Unknown Speaker 26:14
Did that track arise? Right around the time of George Floyd murder was that kind of the impetus for that or was already in process,
Unknown Speaker 26:21
it had already been in process partly with because of interests of our faculty, the Public Health faculty, as well as actually some some requests from people who providers in it who works in the Christian facilities, wanting to have more of a background of public health background, because there's a ton of public health issues, obviously.
Unknown Speaker 26:44
Yeah, in my my PhD program, one of my colleagues was studying, he was a Educational Specialist at St. Quentin, he was studying recidivism rates. And he was looking at it from the perspective of the attitude of the guards. And if the guards were, were pro education, and were advocates for the inmates to to go through an educational burden, rather than their work they had to do, he found that those inmates when they left at a lower recidivism rate, and when he had guards that were kind of anti education, and really gave him a hard time. Yeah. And so you know, the attitudes of everybody that works, works with inmates is so important and critical, based on his research.
Unknown Speaker 27:26
Yeah, definitely. So we've had our students on their public health side be at San Quentin. And so you know, just some of the issues that are arisen there. I mean, they have outbreaks of communicable diseases, and how do you stop that and you know, all kinds of things.
Unknown Speaker 27:43
Sure, even a COVID, I imagine that data is really sad and interesting, at the same time as a healthcare professional,
Unknown Speaker 27:49
they definitely they stop as as many places did stop teaching students. So that was kind of one of the big things are mph. But but a couple other things, we have a really incredible diabetologist, who who works at Toro, we now have what's called the Dream Team. It's an interdisciplinary diabetes team. And one of our rotations is within for our students is in the dream team. So our rotations are our six weeks, but they do that rotation for 12 weeks. They're always paired, and they do two days a week, they do stuff around diabetes, education, diabetes, research, those kinds of things, working with patients, and also working with the community, etc. And then three days a week, they work in clinic. So they're able to be at the same place for three months, on being able to do both. So they really get continuity there plus getting continuity both on the public health side, but also on their seeing patients. And then we also have a mobile Diabetes Education Center, it's a mobile home or RV goes out and does diabetes testing, classes, education, all those kinds of things. And students and interdisciplinary teams of students go out on that also. So we have those kinds of outside experiences for students.
Unknown Speaker 29:10
That's great. Yeah. So So what do you look for in an applicant at your school,
Unknown Speaker 29:16
we really want applicants that meet our mission. We're very upfront about that. We have that on our website. We talked about that. During interviews, we talked about that in information sessions. Because we really want to increase access to care for our resource communities. And we really want to educate people from those communities. To go back to those communities. Again, very similar. I think some, some other folks that you've had on it's similar kinds of things, but the research shows people go back to their communities and patients more interested in seeing people and listen to people who look like them sound like them or have shared experiences, right. And so that's what we look for and I and we we do a pretty good job. I mean, when When you look at diversity, we really look at it's not just underrepresented minorities, but it's also people who have come from disadvantaged backgrounds. People are from under resourced communities, you know, people have had those experiences. And so people can say, I want to work in a rural community. Have you ever worked there? Have you ever lived there, which experience I want to work in primary care, but I look at your application, and you've done CV surgery work in dermatology. And so one of the part of our mission was that you have a demonstrated commitment to doing this. And that's where people show that as where they've worked, or their community service, so they don't require community service as a prerequisite. But that's sometimes how people can demonstrate that, right? Because you've worked worked as a tutor, you know, you volunteer an after school tutoring program. And you've done that for years. Maybe it's an hour a week or two hours a week. But you've done that for a long time. You know, you've worked at the food bank, you've volunteered in the food bank, or whatever, you know, it always was amusing to me when I would see people's applications and they had no community service up until, oh, let's see, when did they decide to apply to PA school? Well, all these schools want me to have community service, and then they start volunteering, you know, it's because I can't write they have a family, they're taking school. But I think other people have said this, too. But you explain that in your personal statement. Right?
Unknown Speaker 31:31
And so yes, yeah, that's a good, that's a really great observation and something we see as well. You have had a long standing passion for diversity. In your career, you have been an advocate in so many communities, you were a member of the Minority Affairs Committee, and many other things. Can you talk a little bit about what has driven that for
Unknown Speaker 31:51
you? Um, you know, this is another one of those I looked at him going, I don't know, it's just the right thing to do. Right. So I think maybe some of it has to do with, you know, where I worked, where actually, I went to school. Growing up, I saw I'm biracial, and which, you know, I just heard a post read a good article about it recently. It's like, I'm a white passing Asian, like, no one would ever guess that. I've been like, I've had people insult me for the race they thought it was, which meant it went over my head because I didn't catch it. Wait a minute, I think they just tried to insult me. But, but where but I grew up in, you know, I grew up in Altadena, California. But you know, there wasn't, there was just an elementary school there. And so we were lost for for integration. So we were the first mandated busing for, for integration, countries that this was in the 70s, I guess, late 60s, early 70s. And so my brothers and I went to four different junior high schools, because, and then one of there was a new high school that was built, because they didn't want to be a part of it. So that they didn't have to do that. And the high school we went to was pretty, you know, it was like, almost 1/4, Hispanic, Black, White, and Asian, you know, almost equal, which is very interesting, because Vallejo has very similar demographics is a very ethnically racially diverse community. So I think it was just always kind of just was right. And then just, you know, as I continue to move along, through my career, just seeing the in justices that occur, and, and really, for me, you know, because of my, my generation, the same issue for women, discrimination against women, so that, you know, that's just not right. No, people should be treated the same. And so.
Unknown Speaker 33:52
So it's been an it's been an easy thing to spend your time and energy on.
Unknown Speaker 33:56
Oh, yeah. I mean, it's just,
Unknown Speaker 33:58
everybody should be doing it. Yeah, as long as I've known you. It's been a long time. Now. I think we've had some amazing conversations, and you have given me so much of your time and gifted me so much of your knowledge around the LGBTQ community. And I wonder if we could talk a little bit about that, you know, Coming Out Day is coming up here on October 10. And I think the, the challenges for for students from our community in terms of navigating pa applications, you know, whether it would be out or not, it's such a personal and such a terribly challenging topic for some families. And and from a PA education perspective, how do we, how do we set the tone for students from that community to welcome them? How do we educate all students about the challenges in that community related to health disparities, the higher levels of suicide, how do we get to a place where we can normalize things so that, again, getting back to your point of the quality that that everybody is equal,
Unknown Speaker 34:59
you know, I think it's difficult. I think that faculty need more education. And we all need to face our own biases, right, which we don't necessarily know, we have until they're challenged. Because I think this is actually the same thing with any group of underresourced community. Same thing for our first generation students. Same thing for our students that are like inner city kids, you know, their experience is different, then probably the majority of faculty. And so, so first, you have to know, we have to know we have our biases, and then we have to actively recognize and work on them, which is difficult, right? And so and so making, making places welcoming communities for everyone, veterans, now men, whatever, even right, I mean, it's right. But some ways, you know, I've been lucky, I think, really lucky in my life. My, my classmates, when I was in PA school, were very welcoming. But you know, people were less out then more gender conforming, and look, dressed. And so it's a how do you how can you be true to yourself? And how you want to be and how do you want to quote unquote, pass? I guess? I had somebody you know, but the flip side, I had somebody one time, tell me, Oh, you, you're dressing your dressing straight? And I'm going well, you know, I feel like when I go to the East Coast, I'm dressing east coast, you know, I can I can wear the costume. She would put it, yeah, I can wear a skirt. And, you know, but I don't have to. And so part of that, I think is also being comfortable with yourself, and how you present? You know, I think there's really some generational differences here to the students. I know. Now, the kids, I know, now, there's more out there. I mean, I just really admire them. They're just out there. I'm like more power to you. i In some ways, still can't do some of that. And I recognize that. But I think for students who are questioning, or students who are really out, I think it's, you know, ask the question, what's your experiences with gay students? What's your experience with transgender students? What's your experience with black students? What's your experience with veterans? Because if you don't like the answer, or it seems wishy washy, or we have, we've had one, you know, no, go there. You know, you don't want to be the token. Because unless you really want to, you know, fight that battle. But I've found that sometimes people come out when they're in school sometimes or not, to me, it's just a part of me. So I just like, you know, you accept me, or you're not going to, and I'm just gonna move on, right? There's the, there's a 10% irritation factor, right, you're gonna piss off 10% of the people, maybe it's a smaller percent. But you know, and they're just not gonna let you for because they don't like the color of your hair or the way you talk or whatever. And you're gonna choose their mind. So just move on. That's a hard one, you know, because you know, we're human,
Unknown Speaker 38:11
are the things that you you do as a program, just like know, that all are welcome. Everybody matters.
Unknown Speaker 38:19
Yeah, I mean, we talked about that actually, one of the other things that I have a slide that we'll talk about, both in interviews and at information sessions, and, you know, here's why you want to come to our program. And so another one of them is that we have, our students are safe zone trained. So that is an educational program to learn how to, you know, learn about the LGBTQ community, how to talk to people, the depending on how who's doing it. I mean, seen some of the challenges the community faces, I actually learned some of this again, at PE I remember the first talk I went to, and Ivanka lesbians who weren't getting health care because of discrimination they had faced, and, you know, didn't want to get a mammogram and didn't want all of these kinds of things. And I was just shocked, going, This is wrong. You know, we need to be providing everyone with the best care we can. We have to, you know, check our judgments at the door and provide people with excellent care. But you know, some of that is you need to know what your, what your biases are.
Unknown Speaker 39:25
Yeah. And I think I think for me, growing up, the more people that I've become friends with and interacted with, and professional colleagues from a wide variety of diverse communities, the more everything seems the same, they're they're just really good people in every walk of life, and you just got to open up your eyes and your ears and your heart.
Unknown Speaker 39:44
Yeah. And I think and that means, you know, but it's hard. You know, it's hard to challenge yourself. And I tell the students you know, you're not going to what you learn in PA school, not you're going to learn a lot of medicine, but you're going to also learn about yourself and personal growth is not always comfortable. But we're going to challenge you while you're here. And I am just going to share a story that one of our, one of my students told me one of my graduates, he said that he was so he was from Oklahoma. And he came to Maddox. And he said, he, he called me, I think he was partway through his clinical year and call me just to tell me to thank me for the education in God, because he was a single dad, his daughter was the most important person to him. She was she was still I think, in high school, when he started school, and, and so she was living with his mom. And he came home for a break. And she came out to him. And she told him, that she was never going to come out to him. Her, her, his mom knew sort of revenue, but because she didn't think he would accept her. But because of going to MedX, he was a much more accepting person. And she felt like he was going to accept her. And he said that, to realize that there was this wedge that had been between them that he didn't even know about, and was not allowing him to get to really know her and was doing with him, was devastating to him. And so he was so happy that he made a change that he didn't even realize that he had made. And I think that's something for PA educators, that that's something that we can we can make a safe place for our students, for all of our students, and they're all going to grow because of that, right? They're gonna, they're gonna, because they challenge one another. And again, you get to know somebody, and then you go, Oh, well, someone, you know, my person come with me, and then you go, Oh, you have the same SEC fire. Oh, but you're still the same person. Right? And so people's beliefs get challenged. And Terry Scott talked a little bit about this in one of your prior podcasts about we need that diversity in the schools, we need that diversity. So we challenge one another, because that's how we accept one another.
Unknown Speaker 42:09
Yeah, I absolutely agree. And I think that's a that's a great way to end our session. Grace I there's so much more we could talk about you have done so many incredible things in your career as a PA and I know, you recently stepped down as the program director and kind of moving into a new phase of your educational life. And I've always been such an admirer from afar. And I've enjoyed our conversation many which occurred with California grant meetings. And I thank you for your time and for your willingness to share and be the open about everything in your life. It's really a testament to who you are. And I look forward to our future conversations.
Unknown Speaker 42:47
Thank you so much, Kevin. This has really been a pleasure.
Unknown Speaker 42:51
What an honor to speak with Grace right after she received the PA Lifetime Achievement Award. This award recognizes PhDs that have given of themselves to the profession for a very long time, and that is certainly the case for grace. Her contributions to our profession are too numerous to even begin to discuss in the podcast. But you can learn more about grace and about Tory University at our website. We certainly wish grace the very best as she begins to dial back into a semi retirement and stepped down from her role as program director. And we wish the tour University of PA school very best in their upcoming year. Tune in next week when we speak with Mr. Brian Peacock, the program director for the Wake Forest School of Medicine PA program in Winston Salem, North Carolina. We speak of Brian about the rich history of leadership at Wake Forest. They're focused on inquiry based learning for the curriculum, and about Brian's thoughts on how they're preparing their students for the future of medicine. Until next time, we wish you success with whatever path you are walking in life. And thank you for joining us. The purpose of this podcast is to provide news and information on the PA profession and is for informational purposes only. The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and guests and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policy of the University of Southern California.
Grace Landel, M.Ed., PA-C was awarded the PAEA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021.
She graduated from the Baylor College of Medicine Physician Assistant Program in 1984. She has worked in rural and urban family medicine since then as well as being in PA education since 1990. She received her MEd in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Washington in 1999.
Ms. Landel was on faculty at the University of Washington MEDEX NW PA Program for 20 years, serving in many roles including Associate Program Director, Director of Diversity, Director of the Alaska Satellite, Didactic Coordinator, and Clinical Coordinator. She joined the Touro University California Joint MSPAS/MPH Program as Director in 2010. She stepped down in August 2021 and is continuing to teach and work on interprofessional education at the university level.
Ms. Landel has been active on the state and national level including legislative committee chair for the Nebraska Academy of PAs and director-at-large, vice president and president of the Washington Academy of PAs. For the American Academy of Physician Assistants, she was the chair of the Professional Practice Council and served as the liaison to the American Academy of Family Physicians. She served as a Commissioner and the Chair and Past Chair for the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant and still is a site visitor. For Physician Assistant Education Association, she was a member of the Advisory Council on Minority Attrition/Retention and the Minority Affairs Committee. She served as chair of the National Recruitment Strategies Task Force and currently serves as a peer reviewer for the Journal of Physician Assistant Education. She was a 2001 HRSA Bureau of Health Professions Primary Care Health Policy Fellow where her group policy proposal was on the inclusion of oral health in primary care.
Ms. Landel is interested in issues around social justice, diversity and access to care, recruitment of students from rural and under-resourced backgrounds, primary care training, oral health, service learning and interprofessional education.